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The VCAA Board

The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) Board has 8–15 members. Members are nominated by the Minister for Education and appointed by the Governor-in-Council.

Chris Wardlaw

PSM, BEc(Hons), DipEd

Chair

Chris Wardlaw held Deputy Secretary roles in education in Hong Kong (2002–08) and Victoria (2009–13) before he retired. In the Hong Kong Government, Chris was responsible for curriculum, assessment and quality assurance for pre-primary, basic education and senior secondary education. In Victoria, he was responsible for strategy and review across the portfolio.

Before his time in Hong Kong, Chris had a long career in Victorian education, during which he took a leading role in major reforms supporting school-level decision-making, evaluation and review.

He taught economics and history at university and secondary levels before moving into educational administration.

Chris received an Australian Sports Medal in 2000 and the Public Service Medal in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours list. He was made a Fellow of Monash University in 2013.

He is Director of the Board of Athletics Australia and Deputy Chair of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership.

Jenny Atta

Secretary

Jenny has been Secretary of the Department of Education and Training since March 2019.

As Secretary, Jenny is directly responsible for the management of the Department and for ensuring the education and training portfolio Ministers are supported in the management and administration of their portfolios.

Jenny manages a $16 billion budget and leads 3,600 corporate staff to deliver and improve early childhood education, school education, and vocational and higher education services across Victoria. She employs a further 62,000 staff in government schools.

Jenny joined the Department in December 2015, as Deputy Secretary, Infrastructure and Finance Services Group. In this role, she was responsible for the management and oversight of the Department’s financial, procurement and information technology services, along with strategic advice and planning for state budget processes, and infrastructure policy and delivery.

This followed a range of senior roles in the Victorian Public Service, including the Department of Treasury and Finance and the Department of Human Services.

Catherine Dillon

BEd, MEd, GradDipEdStudies, MAICD

Catherine is a registered teacher who has worked as a school and system leader and educator in Victorian Catholic schools for over thirty year.s She has held leadership roles across a diverse range of metropolitan and regional educational settings which have included specialist educational settings and Foundation to Year 12 schools.  Her leadership roles have included terms as Deputy Director at Catholic Education Sandhurst, Manager of Leadership and School Development at Catholic Education Melbourne, Principal of Mount St Joseph Girls’ College, Altona and Deputy Principal of Catholic Regional College, Sydenham.  Catherine's has extensive experience  supporting schools with leadership formation, cyclic school reviews, curriculum mapping, data analysis and subsequent strategic planning to improve student learning growth. She has completed the Australian Institute of Company  Directors course and has served on school advisory councils.

Catherine also has experience as a leader, Board Chair and director in the not for profit sector  with a particular focus on  developing youth leadership through community service.

Professor Wayne Hodgson

BSc, PhD, GradCertHighEd

Professor Wayne Hodgson is Deputy Dean (education) for the Faculty of medicine, nursing and health sciences at Monash University. In this role he is responsible for overseeing the faculty’s undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs in Australia and overseas.

Professor Hodgson is a past winner of the faculty’s Jubilee Teaching Prize and continues to teach pharmacology in a range of courses. He has a keen interest in research that examines the relationship between admissions criteria and subsequent performance at university, and widening access to courses for students from under-served populations.

Professor Hodgson is an internationally renowned pharmacologist who specialises in toxinology (the study of toxins produced by living organisms). His laboratory has been responsible for characterising a wide range of animal venoms and associated toxins. He serves on a number of editorial boards of scientific journals.

Professor Mark Rose

PhD, MEdAdmin, BA, DipT

Professor Mark Rose is traditionally linked to the Gunditjmara Nation of Western Victoria. He has a 40-year career in education, contributing to a broad range of educational settings in Victoria, nationally and internationally. Mark is Pro Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Strategy and Innovation in the Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University.

In ministerially appointed arrangements, Mark advised ministers Nelson, Bishop, Gillard and Garrett, co-chaired the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Review, and has sat on numerous government task-forces.

He is involved with the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues in New York, and is a delegate to the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. He is Vice-President of the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated. He chairs the Indigenous advisory group of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) and is Chancellor of Batchelor Institute in the Northern Territory.

Emeritus Professor Kaye Stacey

BSc(Hons), MSc, DPhil, DipEd, FAustMS

Emeritus Professor Kaye Stacey is one of Australia’s leading mathematics education experts with a strong international reputation. She has worked as a researcher in education, as a primary and secondary teacher educator and a supervisor of graduate research, and is an adviser to governments. She has written many practically-orientated books and articles for mathematics teachers.  She is especially interested in adapting curriculum and assessment to the new technological environment, and in all aspects of Science, Technology, Engineering and  Mathematics (STEM) education.

Catharine Hydon

Dip Teaching (Early Childhood); MEd (Early Childhood Education)

Catharine Hydon is the Director and Principal Consultant at Hydon Consulting. She is an early childhood professional with experience in a range of early childhood settings. Catharine has worked as an early childhood teacher, established programs with the Brotherhood of St Laurence, managed a range of services for children and their families in Melbourne’s Northern suburbs and a school-based program in Papua New Guinea. Catharine has a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Monash University. Catharine has been a member of the VCAA Early Years to 10 Curriculum and Assessment Committee since 2017.

Aayushi Khillan

Aayushi Khillan is a passionate and innovative young leader currently studying a Bachelor of Biomedicine at the University of Melbourne. She completed VCE at The Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School in 2018 where she was the Debating and Public Speaking Captain, Representative Council Treasurer and Girls in Volunteering Executive. Aayushi was part of the Victorian Student Representative Council (VicSRC) executive team in 2017-18.

Robert Fearnside

Robert Fearnside has a background with the Victorian Auditor-Generals Office, Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority, Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications and is very experienced in education with strong risk and audit knowledge, governance knowledge and awareness of the Education and Training Reform Act legislation. Part of Roberts role will be to chair the VCAA Audit Committee.

James Laussen

Bachelor of Education (EnvSci); Master of Education (Administration)

James Laussen is Principal at Overnewton Anglican Community College. Mr Laussen brings robust experience and knowledge of the Prep-12 school environment to the Board. He has relevant experience as a AHISA State Executive, member of the Board of the Anglican Diocesan Schools Commission, member of the Management Committee of Anglican Schools Australia and its President from 2015-2017. He has also been a member of the VCAA Secondary Principals’ Reference Group since 2011, the VIT Accreditation Committee since 2014, the State Government LGBTIQ+ Education Reference Group since 2019, and a Board member of Independent Schools Victoria (ISV) since 2016.

Terrance Bennett PSM

Higher Diploma of Teaching, Secondary, State College of Rusden, Majors in Mathematics & Physics; Master of Educational Studies, Monash University

Terrance Bennett has worked for 52 years with the Department of Education and Training. Mr Bennett has by any measure made a most significant contribution to education in Victoria, as evidenced by his PSM awarded in this year’s Australia Day Honours. He was Regional Director North East Victoria Region within the Department from March 2019 up until April 2022. He had responsibility for approximately 400 government primary and secondary schools and 400 early childhood centres. His role was to support schools and early childhood centres and ensure the implementation of government policy regarding the Education State Reform agenda. Mr Bennett also has over 20 years’ experience as a secondary school principal.

Kristy Keenan

Bachelor of Education, Primary (Honours); Master of School Leadership

Kristy Keenan holds the position of Principal at Wangaratta West Primary School. Ms Keenan is a young and passionate professional with a strong understanding of the diversity of schools through her work as a teacher and leader at two large Metropolitan Melbourne schools, leadership of a regional primary school and interacting with principals across her network. Last year she took on the role of Network chair for the Benalla/Mansfield/Wangaratta (BMW) network.